Trial over Don Henley’s stolen ‘Hotel California’ manuscripts to start Wednesday

Elektra/Asylum/Warner Music Group

Opening statements are expected Wednesday in the trial of three men charged in a conspiracy involving nearly 100 pages of Don Henley’s handwritten notes and lyrics for the Eagles album Hotel California.

According to the indictment, Glen HorowitzCraig Inciardi and Edward Kosinki possessed notes that included lyrics to the songs “Hotel California,” “Life in the Fast Lane” and “New Kid In Town.”  

Despite knowing the materials were stolen, they attempted to sell the manuscripts, manufactured false provenance and lied to auction houses, potential buyers and law enforcement about the origin of the material, the Manhattan district attorney’s office said.

The manuscripts were originally stolen in the late 1970s by an author who’d been hired to write an Eagles biography. In 2005 he sold the manuscripts to Horowitz, a rare books dealer, who then sold them to Inciardi and Kosinski. 

When Henley learned of the sale, he filed police reports, told the defendants the materials were stolen and demanded the return of his property. Prosecutors allege that rather than making any effort to ensure they actually had rightful ownership, the defendants responded by engaging in a yearslong campaign to prevent Henley from recovering the manuscripts.

According to the indictment, Horowitz and Inciardi worked to fabricate the manuscripts’ provenance and attempted to use that false statement of provenance to coerce Henley into buying back his stolen property. When trying to sell the manuscripts, Inciardi allegedly lied and withheld information regarding Henley’s claims.

Horowitz also attempted to exploit the death of founding Eagles member Glenn Frey to prevent criminal prosecution: he allegedly produced a new false statement of provenance, this time claiming that the materials originated from Frey.

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